David P. Gushee: The Scholar Who Should Have Been Hard To Ignore

It’s hard to ignore when a top evangelical ethicist urges believers to change our minds about homosexual relationships. David P. Gushee, who co-wrote the widely used textbook Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (IVP Academic, 2003), has just released Changing Our Mind: A call from America’s leading evangelical ethics scholar for full acceptance of LGBT Christians in the Church.

It is the most thoughtful work I have seen so far in favor of gay and lesbian relationships. Gushee’s skill as a thinker and writer shines through. Thus I find much to recommend in what he has written, but only up to about the halfway point. The latter portion of the book falls short, in frankly astonishing ways….

That’s the introduction to my current Worldview and You column at BreakPoint. Here’s how the column ends:

…. So even if we set aside all the scholarly questions about Gushee’s biblical interpretations, the best that could possibly said about this book is that it fails to make its case, by failing to make its case—for it fails to cover most of the really urgent ethical issues.

It’s unfortunate, really. By ignoring most of his proposal’s sweeping social implications, David Gushee, this leading ethicist who should be hard to ignore, has made it not so difficult after all.

What comes between there explains it all.

(I’ve been at the annual meeting the Evangelical Philosophical Society/Evangelical Theological Society all week. Not much time to blog. I’m heading home now, from very comfortably warm San Diego, to much cooler southwest Ohio. I can’t wait to get home!)

Comments 3
  1. DR84

    Even apart from the Biblical position, I (at least) cannot come up with any reason why it is more virtuous for someone to have an exclusive same sex partner than it is for one to have many same sex partners. Just like it is hard to come up with any reason why it is more virtuous for one to have a single tennis partner instead of many tennis partners.

    It strikes me as bizarre from the get go to attempt find Biblical warrant for a man to lie with with another man…just so like as it is one other man (or woman with woman).

  2. Billy Squibs

    That’s actually a fair point, especially if there are no children involved. I wonder over the coming decades will we see concerted moves in the west towards the promotion of unorthodox relationships – polygamy, polyandry, polyamory, consensual incest and so on. “What was unthinkable yesterday is thinkable today, and ordinary and commonplace tomorrow.”

  3. BillT

    It strikes me as bizarre from the get go to attempt find Biblical warrant for a man to lie with with another man…just so like as it is one other man (or woman with woman).

    DR84,

    This is fair from a secular perspective. However, what we understand is that we were created in a specific way for a specific purpose and that there are things that are good and bad for our flourishing given our purpose under that creation. One way to understand that is to look at the Ten Commandments. Most see them as a set of moral rules. But a better view might be as an “owners manual for human beings.” Just like the owners manual for your car tells you it’s bad to put antifreeze in your gas tank the Ten Commandments tell us what’s good and bad to put into human beings. That’s why we look for “Biblical warrant” when deciding on almost anything to include or exclude from our lives.

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